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Maria Stuart

Friedrich Schiller

Maria Stuart

Act Four

Texte intégral

Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, ca. 1564, oil on panel. Anglo-Netherlandish School. Waddesdon Manor. Wikimedia, public domain,​wiki/​File:Robert_Dudley_Leicester.jpg


Scene One

2Count Aubespine. Kent and Leicester.

3AUBESPINE. How is Her Majesty? My Lords, you see me

4Beside myself. How could this be, among her

5Most loyal people?

6LEICESTER. No one among the people

7Did this thing. But a subject of your king,

8A Frank.

9AUBESPINE. A madman surely.

10KENT. A papist, Count Aubespine.

Scene Two

11As above. Burghley enters, speaking to Davison.

12BURGHLEY. The writ of execution must be drawn up

13[1760] And sealed. Be quick! Present it to the Queen to

14Be signed. Now go.

15DAVISON. It shall be done. (He goes off.)

16AUBESPINE (acknowledging Burghley). My Lord,

17My loyal heart shares in the rightful joy of

18This Island. Heaven be praised, which turned the murderous

19Blow from the royal head!

20BURGHLEY. Praised, too, that it

21Thwarted our enemies’ evil will.


23Condemn the doer of this evil deed!


25The doer and the author.

26AUBESPINE (to Kent). Does it please

27Your Honor to admit me to Her Majesty

28That I may lay best wishes of my Lord

29[1770] And King most humbly at her feet—

30BURGHLEY. Don’t trouble,

31Count Aubespine.

32AUBESPINE (officious). I know my office, Lord Burghley.

33BURGHLEY. Your office is to clear this Island at speed.

34(In response to Aubespine’s expression of amazement)

35Your rank shields you today, tomorrow no more.

36AUBESPINE. What is my crime?

37BURGHLEY. Named, it cannot be pardoned.

38AUBESPINE. The right of missions, my Lord, I would hope—

39BURGHLEY. Does not protect traitors—

40LEICESTER and KENT. Ha! What’s this!


42Consider well—

43BURGHLEY. A passport signed by your hand

44Was found in the assassin’s pocket.

45KENT. Indeed?

46[1780] AUBESPINE. I issue many passports. Motives are hidden.

47BURGHLEY. The murderer was confessed in your hotel.

48AUBESPINE. My house is open.

49BURGHLEY. To the enemies of England.

50AUBESPINE. I demand inquest.

51BURGHLEY. Fear one!

52AUBESPINE. In my person

53My King is injured. He’ll tear up our pact.

54BURGHLEY. The Queen has torn it up already. England

55Will not be wed to France. Lord Kent, you will bring

56The Count in safety to the coast. The angry

57Mob stormed his hotel; a great arsenal of weapons

58Was found; they threaten to tear him limb from limb.

59[1790] Conceal him well. I charge you with his life!

60AUBESPINE. I leave a land where common rights are trampled

61And treaties merely toyed with. My Monarch will seek

62A bloody reckoning—

63BURGHLEY. Let him come and fetch it!

64(Kent and Aubespine go off.)

Scene Three

65Leicester and Burghley

66LEICESTER. Thus you dissolve the bond that you so busily

67Buckled. You’ve earned yourself scarce thanks from England.

68You’d better spared yourself the trouble, my Lord.

69BURGHLEY. My goal was good. And God wrought otherwise.

70Happy the man who knows no worse of himself!

71LEICESTER. Yes, one knows Cecil’s dark and secretive bearing

72[1800] When he makes chase after crimes of high treason.

73It’s a fine season for you now, my Lord.

74A truly monstrous misdeed has occurred and

75Its authors still lie hidden deep in darkness.

76A court of inquest will now be convened

77And words and glances carefully weighed up.

78Why, thoughts themselves will be called into court.

79You are the very man there, our own Atlas

80Of State who carries all England on his shoulders.

81BURGHLEY. In you, my Lord, I recognize my master.

82[1810] Such victory as your arts of persuasion gain

83My powers never have brought home.

84LEICESTER. Your meaning?

85BURGHLEY. Were you not who, behind my back, knew to lure

86The Queen to Fotheringhay?

87LEICESTER. Behind your back!

88When have I hidden my deeds from your knowledge?

89BURGHLEY. You lured the Queen to Fotheringhay? Oh, no!

90Surely it was the Queen who kindly lured you.

91LEICESTER. What would you say, my Lord?

92BURGHLEY. Oh, what a fine figure

93You let the Queen cut there! The splendid triumph

94Prepared her, unsuspecting. Gracious Princess!

95[1820] Such shameless mockery, such unsparing exposure!

96This therefore is the large mind and the mercy

97That overcame you suddenly in Council!

98That’s why this Stuart is a foe so feeble

99And nil one does not spot oneself with her blood!

100LEICESTER. Wretch! Come with me. You’ll answer me at the throne.

101BURGHLEY. Expect me there. Let your persuasion not fail you!

102(He goes off.)

Scene Four

103Leicester alone, then Mortimer

104I am discovered, seen through. How did he

105Get on my track? If he has proofs, I am done.

106And if the Queen learns of my understanding

107[1830] With Mary—God! How guilty I’ll be in her eyes!

108My counsel, leading her to Fotheringhay—it

109Will all seem a ruse, a trick. And she will feel mocked,

110Betrayed to her worst enemy! Never will she

111Forgive me. It all seems a plot: the turn in

112The conversation, Mary’s triumph and scorn,

113Even the murder that surprised us—I will

114Have set it up! It is hopeless! — Who is coming?

115MORTIMER (entering, uneasy and wary).

116Earl Leicester? We’ve no witnesses?

117LEICESTER. What’s this?

118What do you want?

119MORTIMER. They’re on our track, on yours, too.

120[1840] LEICESTER. Be gone!

121MORTIMER. The secret meeting at Aubespine’s—

122LEICESTER. Not my concern!

123MORTIMER. The murderer’s presence there—

124LEICESTER. Your care and not mine! Leave me out of this!

125MORTIMER. But listen—

126LEICESTER (very angry). Go to hell! Why hang yourself on

127My heels? I do not know you, with assassins

128I have no traffic.

129MORTIMER. Your steps, too, are betrayed.


131MORTIMER. The Lord High Treasurer was at Fotheringhay.

132There was a great search, where they found—

133LEICESTER. Found what?

134MORTIMER. A letter to you that the Queen had begun—


136MORTIMER. — asking you to keep your word, renewing

137[1850] The promise of her hand, remembering the likeness—

138LEICESTER. Death and damnation!

139MORTIMER. Burghley has the letter—

140LEICESTER. I’m lost!

141(During Mortimer’s next speech Leicester walks up and down.)

142MORTIMER. Act quickly! Act first! Save yourself! Save her!

143Swear your way out of this. Invent excuses.

144I myself can do nothing more. Our band is

145Scattered. I go to Scotland to find friends.

146It comes down to you. Use all your prestige,

147Use quick wits—

148LEICESTER (stands still, then, suddenly resolved).

149I shall do exactly that.

150(He goes to the door, opens it, and calls)

151Hey! Guards! (To the Officer who enters with armed Guards)

152A traitor! Seize him! Guard him well!

153A foul plot come to light. Now straight to the Queen! (He goes off.)

154MORTIMER (stunned at first, recovers himself and gazes after Leicester).

155[1860] Scoundrel! But I deserve this! Who said to trust him?

156I fall, become a bridge that he will walk over.

157Save yourself! I’ll not take you down in my fall.

158Even in death I do not like your league.

159Life is the only good thing bad men have.

160(To the Officer who steps forward to seize him)

161Don’t touch me, you slave. I am free. (He draws a dagger.)

162OFFICER. He’s armed!

163Disarm him!

164(They press around him, he fends them off.)

165MORTIMER. Free, too, heart and soul, in death.

166A curse on those who deny God and their Queen,

167Turn from the earthly as from the heavenly Mary!

168OFFICER. Treason and blasphemy! Lay hand on him!

169[1870] MORTIMER. Mary, my love, I could not bring you release.

170Mary, sweet Mother, fold me into your peace.

171(He stabs himself and falls into the arms of the Guard.)

172Room of the Queen

Scene Five

173Elizabeth, a letter in her hand. Burghley.

174ELIZABETH. To take me there! Show me in triumph to

175His mistress! Never such a betrayal, Burghley!

176BURGHLEY. I cannot grasp how he—by what arts—could

177Surprise the good sense of my Queen so badly.

178ELIZABETH. I’m dying of shame! How he must laugh at me!

179I thought I would humiliate her, and myself

180Became an object of scorn.

181BURGHLEY. Now you see how

182Faithfully I advised you!

183ELIZABETH. I am punished.

184[1880] But should I not have believed him? Who suspects

185A trap among great oaths of love? Dear God!

186Who can I trust? I raised him above all others,

187Gave him the place next to my heart, let him

188Carry himself like a king at this Court!

189BURGHLEY. And he betrayed you to the false Queen of Scotland!

190ELIZABETH. She’ll pay with her blood! Is the warrant drawn up?

191BURGHLEY. Done as you ordered.

192ELIZABETH. She shall die! And he shall

193See her fall and fall after. I have cast

194Him from my heart, filled it with vengeance. Let him

195[1890] Fall deep as he was lofty, monument to

196My rigor as he was to my weakness.

197Into the Tower! I shall name peers to judge him

198After the strictest sense of the law.

199BURGHLEY. Oh, but

200He’ll reach you, justify himself—

201ELIZABETH. How so? The

202Letter convicts him—

203BURGHLEY. But your kindness, the mere

204Sight of him—

205ELIZABETH. Never will I see him again!

206You’ve ordered him refused if he comes?

207BURGHLEY. Just so.

208PAGE (entering). My

209Lord Leicester!

210QUEEN. I am not to be seen. Tell him that.

211PAGE. I dare not!

212QUEEN. My servants fear him more than me!

213[1900] BURGHLEY (to the Page). The Queen forbids his approach.

214(The Page goes out reluctantly.)

215QUEEN (after a pause). Could it be—if he justified himself—

216Could it not be a trap to estrange us?

217If Mary wrote the letter to make me

218Suspect him? To bring him to fall—

219BURGHLEY. But, my Queen—

Scene Six

220As above. Leicester.

221LEICESTER (tears open the door and strides in).

222I’ll just see the one who forbids me my Queen!

223ELIZABETH. Such insolence!

224LEICESTER. To turn me away! If she

225Is present for a Burghley, she’s present for me.

226BURGHLEY. Quite bold, my Lord, to burst in here without


228LEICESTER. Quite pert, my Lord, to speak first. Asking!

229[1910] There’s no one at this Court whom Leicester asks,

230Whom he obeys. (Approaching Elizabeth, submissive)

231I’ll hear from my own Queen—

232ELIZABETH (refusing to look at him).

233Out of my sight, worthless—

234LEICESTER. I hear, not my kind

235Elizabeth, but this Lord, whose— My appeal is

236To my Elizabeth— You lent him your ear, I

237Lay claim to nothing less.

238ELIZABETH. Speak! Own or deny it!

239LEICESTER. First let this burdensome third take his leave.

240Step out, my Lord. What I have to discuss with

241My Queen requires no witness. Go now!

242ELIZABETH (to Burghley). Stay here!

243LEICESTER. What business has a third between you and me?

244[1920] I claim the rights of my place—sacred rights!

245The Lord remove himself!

246ELIZABETH. How haughtiness

247Becomes you!

248LEICESTER. Becomes me well. I am the chosen

249One. Your great favor lent me this rank, and

250What love has given I shall assert. Two minutes—

251ELIZABETH. Of chatter—

252LEICESTER. Chatter is for him. I speak to

253Your heart! What I have dared do by your favor

254I’ll justify to your heart. I know no court but

255Your heart!

256ELIZABETH. And that is what damns you. Lord Burghley,

257I bid you show him the letter.

258LEICESTER (reading the letter, unruffled). That is her hand.

259[1930] ELIZABETH. Read and fall silent.

260LEICESTER (calmly). All appearance is

261Against me. I hope not to be judged by that.

262ELIZABETH. Do you deny a secret understanding

263With Mary Stuart? You received her likeness

264And gave her hope of rescue.

265LEICESTER. I could discount

266My enemy’s words if I felt guilty, but

267My conscience is clear. What she writes is true.

268ELIZABETH. Now then!

269BURGHLEY. He damns himself!

270ELIZABETH. Out of my sight!

271Into the Tower, you traitor!

272LEICESTER. I am none.

273My error was to make a secret of it.

274[1940] This was my effort to discover—

275ELIZABETH. Excuses!

276LEICESTER. I’ve played a dangerous game. Only Earl Leicester

277Could be so bold at this Court. All the world knows

278How I hate Mary Stuart. My high rank, the

279Trust of my Queen remove all doubt. The man picked

280Out by your favor can risk a bold path.

281BURGHLEY. And why the silence?

282LEICESTER. You hang a bell on your deeds,

283My Lord. I act, then talk.

284BURGHLEY. You talk since you must.

285LEICESTER (fixing him contemptuously).

286You claim the fame of having put into action

287A fabulous deed, saved your Queen, unmasked a

288[1950] Great treason. You know it all, nothing escapes you.

289Braggart! For all your keen nose, Mary Stuart

290Were free as of today, had I not blocked it


292LEICESTER. I, my Lord. The Queen confided in Mortimer.

293She went so far as to give him against

294Mary a bloody charge the uncle refused.

295(The Queen and Burghley look at one another, appalled.)

296BURGHLEY. How did you

297LEICESTER. Is it not so? Where did you have

298Your thousand eyes, not to see this Mortimer was

299Double? He was a raging papist, a tool of

300The Guises, Stuart’s creature, scheming fanatic

301[1960] Come to free Stuart and to murder our own Queen—

302ELIZABETH (utterly astonished).


304LEICESTER. He was go-between for Mary

305With me. That’s how I came to know him. Today

306Yet she was to be snatched out of her prison.

307He told me himself. I had him arrested.

308Despairing, he took his own life.

309ELIZABETH. Deceived! Deception

310Beyond words!

311BURGHLEY. And all this just since I left you?

312LEICESTER. A poor outcome. His witness would have cleared me.

313That’s why I turned him over to the courts.

314Strict justice was to prove my innocence.

315[1970] BURGHLEY. He killed himself, you say—

316LEICESTER. Unworthy suspicion!

317Question the Guards—

318(He goes to the door and calls. The Officer of the Bodyguard enters.)

319Submit report to the Queen how

320That Mortimer died!

321OFFICER. I held the watch in the

322Anteroom when my Lord threw open the door

323And ordered me to seize the Knight as a traitor.

324He pulled a dagger, raged, insulted the Queen,

325And stabbed himself before we could stop him—

326LEICESTER. That will do. You may go.

327(The Officer goes off.)

328ELIZABETH. What an abyss—

329LEICESTER. Who was it saved you? Was it my Lord Burghley?

330He saw the danger? And turned it aside?

331[1980] BURGHLEY. This Mortimer died timely for you, my Lord.

332ELIZABETH. What should I say? I believe you, I don’t believe you.

333I believe you guilty, don’t believe it. Oh, hateful

334Woman! To cause me such pain!

335LEICESTER. She must die.

336Now I, too, say so. Not till an arm is raised, I

337Had said. That has now happened. Judgment must

338Be executed forthwith. The Queen’s safety

339Demands this bloody extreme, much as it grieves me.

340BURGHLEY (to the Queen). Since my Lord’s meaning is so earnest and true

341I would propose that execution of judgment

342[1990] Be removed onto him.


344BURGHLEY. You! No better

345Way to lay suspicion that rests on you than

346That you, accused of loving her, should see her


348ELIZABETH (fixing Leicester). Well advised, Lord. Let it be so.

349LEICESTER. My rank should free me of a charge so dismal,

350Suited in all respects much better to Burghley.

351One nearest my Queen ought do nothing baneful.

352To prove my zeal and satisfy my Queen I

353Renounce the privilege of my rank, assume

354This loathsome duty.

355ELIZABETH. Lord Burghley share it with you.

356[2000] (To Burghley) See that the order be issued right away.

357(Burghley goes off. Sounds of a disturbance off-stage.)

Scene Seven

358Earl Kent to join the others

359ELIZABETH. What is it Lord, Kent? What’s the noise?

360KENT. The people

361Queen. They surround the palace, demand to see you.

362ELIZABETH. What does my folk want?

363KENT. Rumor goes through London

364That your life is threatened and assassins

365Are sent by Rome, that Catholics are in league to

366Free Lady Stuart by force, proclaim her queen.

367The mob believes it. They are demanding her head. They

368Refuse to go home until judgment is signed.

369ELIZABETH. What? Shall I be forced to?

Scene Eight

370Burghley and Davison with a writing. As above.

371ELIZABETH. What’s this, Davison?

372DAVISON (approaching, grave).

373[2010] Your orders, my Queen.

374ELIZABETH (reaches for the sheet, then shrinks back).

375Oh, God!

376BURGHLEY. Heed the voice of

377The people, it is the voice of God.

378ELIZABETH (struggling with herself). Oh, but

379My Lords, who says if I indeed hear the voice

380Of all my people, of the world? Oh, how

381I fear, if I obey the voice of the mob,

382Another voice will make itself heard, those who

383Drive me to act now will blame me when it’s done.

Scene Nine

384Earl Shrewsbury to join the others. Kent goes off.

385SHREWSBURY (very aroused).

386They’re rushing you, Queen. Stand fast— (He notices Davison with the writing.)

387Is it too late?

388Let that not come before the eyes of my Queen!

389ELIZABETH. My noble Shrewsbury, they are forcing me!

390[2020] SHREWSBURY. But who can force you? You are our ruler,

391Now is the time to show your majesty!

392Order those voices to fall silent that

393Make bold to force your royal will, your judgment.

394Fear moves the crowd; you, too, are beside yourself.

395You are but human, cannot pass judgment now.

396BURGHLEY. Judgment has long since been passed. No decision

397Is to be reached, but executed rather.

398KENT (returning). The crowd is growing, and the mob will not

399Let itself be held back!

400ELIZABETH (to Shrewsbury). See how they press me!

401[2030] SHREWSBURY. Only delay. This pen stroke will decide your

402Happiness and your peace. You’ve pondered for years;

403A moment should rip you along? Collect

404Yourself, attend a quiet hour.

405BURGHLEY. Heed the voice of

406And hesitate, waste time, until the Realm

407Stands in flames and your rival meets with success.

408Three times a god has shielded you, today it

409Came close. To invite a fourth is to tempt God.

410SHREWSBURY. The God whose wonder-working hand has

411Kept you four times and enabled this old man

412[2040] To crush a madman—He is to be trusted!

413I shall not speak of justice. This is not the moment.

414Merely this: You tremble at the living

415Mary and not before the dead one? She will

416Rise from the grave, a goddess of strife, and swoop

417Over your Kingdom, turn your people against you.

418The Briton hates her now, soon he’ll avenge her,

419Enemy no longer of his one true faith, but

420Granddaughter of his kings and victim of hate.

421Process through London when the deed is done,

422[2050] Show yourself to your people— You’ll find them changed.

423Your element is justice no longer, but fear,

424Making a desert every street where you pass.

425What head is safe if this one must fall!

426ELIZABETH. Ah, Shrewsbury, you saved my life. To what effect?

427All strife were at an end, all doubt resolved, and

428Unstained by guilt, I would lie in my grave.

429For truly! I have tired of living and ruling.

430Must one queen fall? Can that not be me? Let

431My people choose. I lived for it, God knows,

432[2060] And not for myself. If it hopes for this Mary,

433The younger queen, I’ll seek the stillness of Woodstock.

434I am not born to rule—alas I am not!

435A ruler must be hard and my heart is soft.

436I’ve ruled this Island happily, needing but to

437Make happy. Come the first hard royal duty,

438And I feel my weakness—

439BURGHLEY. By all that’s holy!

440When I hear such unkinglike words from my Queen,

441It were betrayal of my duty and land to

442Keep silent here among you any longer.

443[2070] You say you love your people more than yourself.

444Show us that love. Do not choose peace for yourself

445And give the Realm up to these raging storms.

446Think of the Church. Is Mary Stuart to bring the

447Old idols back? The Roman legate to come close

448Our churches and dethrone our anointed kings?

449I yet require your subjects of you—saved or lost

450In consequence of what you choose to do now.

451This is no time for soft heart and compassion.

452Shrewsbury saved your life—I would save England!

453[2080] ELIZABETH. Let me be left to myself! There’s no counsel

454Among men in this matter. I go before

455A higher Judge to do His bidding. Leave me,

456My Lords! (To Davison) You, sir, I’d have remain close by.

457(The Lords go off. Shrewsbury lingers before the Queen, then follows slowly, expressing great pain.)

Scene Ten

458Elizabeth alone

459Serving the people—slavery, bondage! How it

460Revolts me, flattering this false god I despise!

461When shall I ever stand free upon this throne!

462Honor opinion, court praise from the mob,

463And make it right to those who want to be fooled!

464Oh, he’s no king who still must please the world!

465[2090] Why have I always been just, never despotic,

466Only to tie my own hands at the first

467Forced act of violence! My example damns me!

  • 64 See note 10, above.

468A tyrant like the Spanish Mary64 before me,

469I could shed king’s blood. Did I so choose? I

470Am forced. Necessity imposes forbearance.

471Surrounded by foes, I am held on my

472Contested throne by public favor alone.

473The powers of the Continent conspire to destroy me.

474From Rome the Pope renews his ancient ban,

475[2100] From France, betrayal in a Judas kiss, and

  • 65 The Spanish Armada. It sailed a year later.

476From Spain the threat of war on the high seas.65

477With spotless virtue I must mask a stain on

478My birth, a defect in my rights. In vain!

479The enemy sets this Stuart up against me.

480Where I have planted pleasure or hope, I find her

481Across my path, a snake sent me from Hell!

482My lover she seduces, costs me my bridegroom,

483My every sorrow is called Mary Stuart!

484This fear must end. Her head must fall. I will have peace!

485[2110] Once she’s removed from this world, I’m free as the wind.

486(She falls silent.)

487Bastard you’d call me? Your misfortune, that!

488(She goes to the table and seizes a pen.)

489Only as long as you live am I so,

490If I destroy you, I destroy all doubt.

491And when the Briton can no longer choose,

492Then I was born and bred in lawful bed!

493(She signs firmly and rapidly, drops the pen, and steps back, horrified. After a pause, she rings.)

Scene Eleven

494Elizabeth. Davison.

495ELIZABETH. Where are their lordships?

496DAVISON. They have gone to calm

497The mob. It fell still when it saw Earl Shrewsbury.

498He used soft words, reproached their violence,

499And calmed them till they crept away from the square.

500[2120] ELIZABETH. The fickle crowd! Do not lean on this reed!

501You may go. Very good.

502(As Davison turns toward the door)

503Here, this. Take it back.

504DAVISON (casting a glance at the writing she has given him).

505My Queen! Your name here! You have decided?

506ELIZABETH. I was to sign. I have signed. A sheet of paper

507Does not decide yet. A mere name does not kill.

508DAVISON. Your name, Queen, on this writing decides all,

509Kills, is a thunderbolt. This sheet commands

510The sheriff and commissioners to Fotheringhay to

511The Queen of Scotland to announce her death and

512To execute the warrant before day.

513[2130] No respite. She has lived when I release this.

514ELIZABETH. God lays a heavy fate in your weak hands.

515Beseech Him that He shine the light of his

516Wisdom on you. I’ll leave you to your duty.

517DAVISON (blocks her path).

518Tell me your wishes first, my Queen. Is

519It wisdom just to follow your command? You

520Give me this writing for swift execution?

521ELIZABETH. That you with your good sense—

522DAVISON (breaking in, frightened). Oh, not with mine!

523That God forbid! Obedience is my good sense.

524Your servant should be left to decide nothing.

525[2140] A small mistake and a queen dies. Tell me

526Clearly: What should I do with this death warrant?

527ELIZABETH. Its name says it—

528DAVISON. You wish it executed right away?

529ELIZABETH (hesitating). That I don’t say and tremble to think it.

530DAVISON. You want me then to keep it for the moment?

531ELIZABETH (quickly). What? At your peril! You answer for it.

532DAVISON. Me? Holy God! Speak, Queen! What is it you want?

533ELIZABETH (impatient). I want this foul case never thought of again,

534I want to have peace at last and forever!

535[2150] DAVISON. It costs you only one word. Tell me, decide:

536What is to be done with this writing, my Queen?

537ELIZABETH. I’ve said it. Torment me no further with this.

538DAVISON. You’ve said it? You’ve said nothing to me. It please

539My Queen to recall—

540ELIZABETH (stamping her foot). Unbearable!

541DAVISON. Have patience

542With me. I came into this office only

543A few months ago. I do not know the language

544Of court and kings. I grew up with plain manners.

545Have patience, teach me what my duty is—

546(He approaches her, entreating; she turns her back; he stands despairing; then, in a firm tone)

547Take this back! Take it! It burns my hands. Do not

548[2160] Choose me to serve you in this frightful business.

549ELIZABETH. You do your duty! (She goes off.)

Scene Twelve

550Davison. Then Burghley.

551DAVISON. She’s gone. What shall I do?

552Am I to keep it? Am I to hand it over?

553(To Burghley, who enters)

554Oh, good! Good that you come, my Lord. It was you

555Who brought me to this office. Free me of it!

556I did not know its reach. Let me go back

557Into obscurity. I do not belong here.

558BURGHLEY. What’s this? Compose yourself. Where is the warrant?

559The Queen had you called.

560DAVISON. She left me in a rage.

561Advise me! Help me! Here is the warrant. It’s signed.

562BURGHLEY (in haste).

563[2170] Signed? Give it here! Give here!

564DAVISON. I’m not allowed.

565BURGHLEY. What?

566DAVISON. She has not told me clearly what she wants—

567BURGHLEY. Not told you? She has signed it. Give it here!

568DAVISON. I am to have it executed, not have

569It executed—God knows what I’m to do.

570BURGHLEY (pressing).

571Right now, this minute have it executed.

572Give here! You’re lost forever if you delay.

573DAVISON. I’m lost if I rush ahead and act too soon.

574BURGHLEY. You are a fool! Give here!

575(He snatches the writing from Davison and rushes off.)

576DAVISON (hurrying after). Oh, stop! I’ll be ruined!


64 See note 10, above.

65 The Spanish Armada. It sailed a year later.

Table des illustrations

Légende Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, ca. 1564, oil on panel. Anglo-Netherlandish School. Waddesdon Manor. Wikimedia, public domain,​wiki/​File:Robert_Dudley_Leicester.jpg
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